Fireboat Fire Fighter Wins National Maritime Heritage Grant
Floating museum receives funds for preservation and restoration
Greenport, NY (May 5, 2015) — The most highly decorated fireboat in the world—New York City Fire Department (FDNY) Fireboat Fire Fighter—a National Historic Landmark vessel, Gallant Ship Award recipient, and 9/11 Hero was awarded funding through the National Maritime Heritage Grant. On April 27th, the Department of the Interior announced a grant in the amount of $80,000.
The grant would require donations to match the federal funds for a total of $160,000 to complete the restoration project. The funds will be used to survey and make any necessary repairs to the hull and to repaint surfaces. This is a pivotal step in the preservation and restoration process for the three-year-old New York State Museum and 501c3 non-profit. The all-volunteer staff is confident that this will generate positive energy to the operation in the way of visitors, support, volunteers, and donations. The decommissioned 76-year-old vessel, the longest serving FDNY fireboat in history, is open for tours on weekends from 11AM to 5PM and is berthed adjacent to the Shelter Island ferry dock in Greenport, New York. Volunteers are also welcomed at any time.
“This is an exciting change in the vessel’s course,” said Charlie Ritchie, director of the project. “Fighter is and always will be a true fire service icon; a survivor of the ‘blood and guts’ era for fireboats in New York Harbor during the 1940s-1950s. After many a boat was retired, she continued to serve, fighting over 50 pier and ship fires, including the World Trade Center on September 11th. Now she gets a new lease on life in her golden years, a chance to share her decks with the rest of the country, and to show why she truly is ‘America’s Fireboat.’ This is a tribute to her crewmates, her architect William Francis Gibbs, and to a truly unique time in American shipbuilding.”
Charlie Ritchie, President